Spain's Carolina Marin stuns Li Xuerui to win women's singles title at world championships
Spaniard becomes first European to lift women's crown in 15 years, while Lee Chong Wei fails to lift the men's crown again
Spain’s Carolina Marin pulled off a monumental upset as she beat Chinese world number one Li Xuerui to win the women’s singles title at the World Championships in Copenhagen on Sunday.
The 21-year-old ninth seed recovered from dropping the opening game to the top seed and Olympic champion to complete an incredible 17-21, 21-17, 21-18 victory and earn her country its first ever major title in the sport.“I don’t have any words...it was a fantastic match,” said Marin. “She played amazing rallies in the first set and her strokes are so good.
“My coach told me if I wanted to win I had to fight until the end. I fought to the end, that’s what I did. I feel so excited.”
Asked whether she felt nerves with victory in sight, Marin replied: “Not so much. I wanted to enjoy it in my first final and I did that.”
Li had rarely looked in trouble during her run to the final and she again looked at ease with her terrific stroke play proving too much for the tenacious Marin in the opening game.
However, the Spaniard was undeterred and came out positively at the start of the second set as she established an early lead before Li reeled her back in.
This time though Marin responded by taking the attack to her opponent for whom the nerves perhaps began to take hold as Li began to misfire more regularly with Marin levelling the contest on the first of three set points.
The Chinese regrouped in the third game and inched 14-11 ahead but once more Marin came roaring back and moved to within a point of an improbable victory as Li fired long.
Marin then fell to the court in delight on the subsequent point as Li planted her shot into the net. The Spaniard became the first European to lift the women's singles title since Denmark's Camilla Martin last won it in 1999.
There was more misery for Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei after he failed yet again to lift his first world title. He lost to Chinese rival Chen Long 21-19, 21-19.
“I am not yet the world number one. I will take some rest and get ready for the Asian Games,” said Chen.
Lee felt moved to apologise.
“I am sorry that I didn’t win for my country,” said Lee. “I tried my best but I made too many mistakes.
“But I shall go on. I shall choose the major tournaments carefully and try to go on to the next Olympics.”
China extended their dominance in women’s doubles as Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei claimed the country’s 12th straight gold medal in the event by defeating compatriots Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli 21-19, 21-15.
Meanwhile, South Korea struck gold in the men’s doubles as Ko Sung-hyun and Shin Baek-choel, the 12th seeds, beat fellow countrymen Lee Yong-dae and Yoo Yeon-seong 22-20, 21-23, 21-18.